33MD for April 22, 2009

POSTED: Wednesday, April 22, 2009 - 6:28pm

UPDATED: Thursday, June 3, 2010 - 11:57pm

The Food and Drug Administration will soon allow 17-year-olds to get the morning-after pill without a prescription. The Associated Press says the agency is complying with a federal judge’s ruling last month. Taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the controversial pill can be effective at preventing pregnancy. Plan B has been available without a prescription to people 18 and older since 2006.

Taking popular painkillers may not prevent Alzheimer’s like earlier studies have suggested. Researchers at the University of Washington followed a group of elderly adults for 12 years. Experts say the painkillers don’t prevent Alzheimer’s. In fact, they might increase the risk. They found elderly people who use them heavily are 66% more likely to develop Alzheimer’s compared to others.

Women with the skin disorder psoriasis may be at a greater risk for other diseases. That’s according to researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. They say women with psoriasis were 63% more likely to develop diabetes and 17% more likely to have high blood pressure. Doctors say it could be linked to treatments for psoriasis or the inflammatory nature of the disease itself.

Can chewing gum make you smarter in math? So says a study funded by Wrigley Gum. Researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine recruited more than 100 8th grade students for the study. The students were divided into two groups, gum-chewing and non-gum chewing. Experts found that students who chewed gum in math class showed a 3% increase in standardized math test scores. The study’s sponsors suggest that gum-chewing helps reduce stress, improve alertness, and relieve anxiety.